Dark clouds form over Stebonheath Park as Llanelli face fresh threat to future
CRISIS-STRICKEN Llanelli AFC has been thrown into turmoil after three fresh hammer blows left the club's future hanging by a thread.
News has emerged that a second petition to wind up the club has been presented by HM Revenue and Customs to be heard on Monday at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
It comes in a week that the club lost its manager, assistant manager and a number of players (see back page) and was threatened with eviction from Stebonheath Park unless outstanding £18,000 rent owed to Llanelli Town Council is paid within the next three weeks.
Former player and fan, Peter Johns, said: "What is happening is sad and everyone is a bit gutted with what is going on.
"Nobody wants to see the club folding but it's getting worse by the week.
"Unless the chairman (Nitin Parekh) is prepared to bail the club out he is just prolonging the agony, but you have got to give the man credit for his investment over the past few years."
Mr Johns added that he was surprised at the council's threat to boot the club out of Stebo.
He said: "£18,000 pounds is not a great amount to take such drastic action."
Reds fan Keith Thomas, whose grandfather David John Thomas turned out for the club back in the early 1900s, agreed.
He said: "I don't know why the council are pulling the plug on Stebonheath, I can't see any logic for it.
"It should not have been left to get this far."
He said he felt the council should have tried harder to tackle the issue before the it got to this stage.
Mr Thomas added that the situation was a "real tragedy".
He said: "Andy Legg has done a fantastic job and you can't blame him for making the decision that he has done.
"It is a crisis at the club, a deep crisis.
"As far as I'm concerned if Llanelli go into liquidation two years later the whole league will fold. It is an unsustainable league.
"It is terrible to hear this as a fan but you can't have that sort of money going out when there is only around 120 people coming through the gate."
The town council's Stebonheath development committee considered a report on the rental position of the football and social clubs last week.
The report found that as of November 7, the club's arrears amount to £9,147.60 in respect of the football club and £9,109.82 in respect of the social club — prompting members to instruct the council's solicitors to write to the football club to notify it of its breach of contract with regard to non-payment of rent.
Both the football club's licence for the ground and the lease of the social club will be terminated by the town council.
In a release sent to the Star by town clerk Mel Edwards, the council said that while it was "within its rights" to take immediate possession of the ground and social club, it would give the football club 28 days to contact the council and "negotiate new agreements and settlement of their arrears".
During this period, while the company remains a legal entity, the football club will be permitted to use the ground to fulfil their fixtures and the social club will be allowed to continue to trade.
Council leader Carl Lucas said: "The town council has been very patient with Llanelli AFC Ltd with regard to the payment of their rent.
"The council has heavily subsidised Stebonheath Park and has invested in its future with improvements of the football pitch and infrastructure.
"It is very disappointing to see the football club in such dire financial trouble but the council has to do what is right for the council taxpayers of Llanelli."
We contacted Nitin Parekh's office for comment but had received no response at the time of going to press.